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Why Pope Francis is here, according to Bishop Robert Barron

Chatter over politics – and whether or not Pope Francis is a communist – has taken center stage since he landed in the U.S., but for Bishop Robert Barron, the Pope’s visit is about much more.

“I’m expecting the Pope to evangelize, he’s come as a preacher of the Gospel,” Bishop Barron told CNA Sept. 23 outside the White House.

The Pope, he said, will “speak across the denominational lines and across even to the secular world about basic human values.”

“It’s wonderful” to have Francis in the U.S., the bishop commented, adding that as both a Catholic and an American to have the Pope there as “a symbol of our government and democracy” is exciting.
Known for his online videos which tackle everything from the saints, to the “new atheism,” to the latest blockbuster film, Bishop Barron was appointed as one of three new auxiliary bishops for Los Angeles in July.

He is the founder of the online initiative Word On Fire Catholic Ministries, and is the producer of the popular documentary series Catholicism. His latest series, Pivotal Players, is currently in production.

Also a contributor to NBC News, the prominent internet evangelist was ordained a bishop just two weeks ago on Sept. 8 inside L.A.’s Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Having just finished a spot with the Today Show, Bishop Barron said that after the day’s events – which include a meeting between Pope Francis and U.S. bishops – he will head to New York, where he’ll be on NBC’s Nightly News program following the canonization of Bl. Junipero Serra.

The bishop said that he never expected to be in Washington participating in the Pope’s visit as a bishop, “so that’s part of the novelty of this.”

He said the first weeks in his new role have been “interesting, exciting, a little confusing. A lot of things new being thrown at me, but it’s all good.”
Bishop Barron spoke to CNA early Wednesday morning as journalists were waiting to enter the South Lawn of the White House for Pope Francis’ official welcoming ceremony.

After sharing a private meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, the Pope met with some 400 American bishops in St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

Later Francis will celebrate Mass in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where he will carry out the much-anticipated canonization of “the evangelizer of the west,” Bl. Junipero Serra.

Alan Holdren contributed to this report.



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